196 MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE
at the knees. There were extensive burns of the whole body including the anus
and private parts. The hair of the head, eyebrows and eyelashes was singed. The eyes
were closed and congested. The mucous membrane of the larynx and trachea was
congested and covered with froth mixed with soot. The brain and its membranes were
Burns are sometimes self-inflicted for purposes of false accusations.
A Mahometan woman, about 18 years old, filed a complaint at the City Magistrate's
Court at Lucknow that she was burnt by her husband with a pair of tongs. She had
several small marks of superficial burns causing redness and vesication on the wrist,
forearms, legs and thighs. Some of these had the shape of the knob of the tongs.
During the trial it \\as suggested that they appeared to have been self-inflicted, inasmuch
as they were on the places easily approachable by the woman herself. It was afterwards
discovered that they had been self-inflicted and the woman had brought a false accu-
sation as she wanted divorce from her husband.
Homicidal cases are fairly common in India. Burns are often caused
by a mother-in-law on. the body of her infant daughter-in-law for very
trifling faults. The substances selected are generally a pair of hot tongs
(chimta) or karchi and the sites selected are usually the arms, hands, thighs
and private parts. I have seen several such cases with three deaths—two
in Agra and one in Lucknow. Among grown-up females burns are
produced usually on the pudenda, as a punishment for adultery. When a
master becomes angry with his servant for disobedience or petty theft, he
sometimes produces burns on his body with a heated solid substance, such
as a hot pipe or chilinn. Robbers and dacoits often inflict burns as a torture
to extort information about valuables hidden in the houses of their victims.
Sometimes they burn their victim to death by pouring kerosene oil over
their clothes and then setting a light to them.
Cases.—1. Mussammat Hardei owing to domestic quarrels with her daughter-in-
law burned her to death by throwing kerosene oil over her clothes and then setting
fire to them. The oil fell over the clothes of her child, one and a half years old, who
2. On the night of the 21st May 1922, a gang of dacoits went to the house of Bihari
Lai at Uchasia in the Bilaspur police circle. Bihari Lai was away, but they got hold
of his mother, Musainmat tndo, his sister, Musammat Kamli and his wife, Musammat
Rampa. They poured kerosene oil over Musammat Indo, and set a light to it. Musam-
mat Kamli protested; hence they poured a great deal of oil over her and burnt her so
"badly that she died a few hours later. They had torches, and after robbing the inmates
they went away.3
3-^ At Trivandrum a servant, harbouring ill-feelings against his master, poured
petrol over the latter at night, when he was lying in a chair and set fire to him. Seeing
his master roll frantically over the floor, the servant poured more petrol over lie victim.
The man sustained serious burns and died in hospital a few hours after admission.*
4. One Hani Ram5 caused the death of his daughter-in-law, aged 9 years, by
burning her all over the body with a heated karchul. He sat on her legs and gagging
her mouth with cloth in order to prevent her from crying for help, he deliberately
branded her with kcurchul several times each time withdrawing it from the fire and
placing the hot metal against the body and then heating it again. The burns .were mostly
on the chest, abdomen, back, buttocks, private parts, thighs, cheeks, right orbit and left
hand. Ilie reason why the man branded the girl was that she had eaten some of the
bread which he had kept for himself.
5. One Kishan Devi of Saharanpur, 65 years old, Dayavanti, her unmarried
daughter, and Shanti Devi, her second daughter, 13 years old, were charged with having
burnt alive Shakuntala, the daughter-in-law of the old woman by setting fire to her
clothes after sprinkling kerosene oil on them. The Additional Sessions Judge of Saharan-
pur, who tried the case, sentenced to death the old woman and her daughter, Dayavanti,
but sentenced the 13-year-old Shanti Devi to transportation for life in view of her
2. King-Emperor v. Mt Hardei, Chief Court of Oudh, Crim. App. No. 64 of 1927.
3. King-Emperor v. Shib Singh and Kandhari Singh, ALL High Court Criminal
Appeal No. 636 of 1924.
4. Times of India, October 9, 1930.
5. King-Emperor v. Mani Ram, Oudh Chief Court, Crim. App. No. 234 of 1931.
6. Times of India, Hay 1, 1950, p. 5.